Jerry Rimmer

Red Rock has always been one of my favorite places while growing up in the desert in Las Vegas since 1952 then the population was only 56,000 in the valley now the current metro area population is 2,772,000. in 1990 Red Rock became a National Conservation Area, in one respect I’m thankful that it’s being preserved, but this year because of overcrowding today you have to make reservations to visit the scenic loop & the park is only open from sunrise to sunset. For me this is sad because I just miss not being able to hang out in Red Rock day or night or whenever you feel like it, even though there are parts of the park where you don’t have to make reservations to hike or just take a walk in, and this shot was taken on Middle Oak Creek Trail which is about 15 miles from my house where reservations are not needed. This shot was taken 3-18-21 and one of the main attractions for me this day was this cloud formation over this scene in the desert. It was a beautiful day out taking a walk with my dog in the great outdoors and I know this photo isn’t a prize winning landscape shot but trying to process this photo that las couple of days made me still enjoy the feelings I had when I was there.

Specific Feedback Requested

The main thing that might seem off to me is the bottom of the cholla cactus on the left I tried cropping up more but didn’t like it as much.

Technical Details

Is this a composite: No
Fuji XT2 18-135mm @23mm ISO200 1/500 f8

I did a little rework with this image with some of the suggestions that were given and with much appreciation of all the suggestions.

Hi Jerry,

Welcome to the community and a great first post! I like the contrast in this image lots of detail in the rugged desert landscape terrain to the soft clouds, warm tones transitioning into cool tones.

I think you managed the crop well

Welcome Jerry,
I can see why you keep coming back to this area for solitude and hikes. This is just a great desert scene. You have great balance/weight left and right and although I would like a little more on the bottom it’s certainly not necessary. I really like the diversity of plants that are packed into the scene and that cloud is just about perfectly centered, a good thing in this case. I also like the slightly warmer bottom and the cooler top but they are not fighting each other. I can’t make any suggestions to improve this. Great first post. Keep them coming Jerry!

So now I feel like a Supreme Court Justice writing a dissenting opinion. First image or not, I guess it’s trial by fire. Technically it’s a fine photograph, but it needs refinement.

I can’t find a way into this scene. It’s a wall of vegetation with an overwhelming sky. Each on its own would probably work, but the 50/50 nature of the composition is too rigid. Where would you like me to look? How are you drawing me in? What’s the compelling story? It’s not a grand enough vista to awe, but it’s not an intimate enough slice to provoke wonder.

That said, I can see the appeal of the area and I’m sorry it’s overrun and by appointment only. Seems many places in the US are heading this way.

How can I improve this image? I don’t think I can, but if you revisit or go somewhere similar, I’d be on the lookout for some leading lines or a stand-out element of the landscape. A big (semi-isolated) cactus or a rock. A line of cactuses or rocks. A distinct formation to be the anchor. If the sky is the story it needs to be emphasized more and the landscape itself minimized.

I hesitated to write this at all since it’s your first post and I don’t want to discourage you or come off like a jerk. I assume you have read what the site is about and have looked at some of the posts here that tell it like it is. So I’m telling it like it is.

So if you’re still reading this, welcome to NPN. I’ve taken some knocks here, but my photography has improved even in the scant months I’ve been a member. Deserts are amazing places and I’m heading to Arizona in November myself for a few days.

Thank You Nathan, I appreciate what you have to say .

[quote=“David_Haynes, post:3, topic:21652”]
…would like a little more on the bottom it’s certainly not necessary. I really like the diversity of plants that are packed into the scene and that cloud is just about perfectly centered, a good thing in this case. I also like the slightly warmer bottom and the cooler top but they are not fighting each other. I can’t make any suggestions to improve this. Great first post. Keep them coming Jerry!

Thank You David for the kind words for encouragement.

Thank You Kristen, I don’t think of you as being a Supreme Court Justice, and you put a smile on my face with this comment & I don’t feel like you’re a jerk . I do appreciate your thoughts on making a fine composition with leading lines & foreground & background & light & shadow & color or for more of a grand scene or more of an intimate scene or even some of the abstracts or tiny landscapes as Mike Moats calls them & with the desert in Red Rock there is endless beauty. So I really don’t feel like I’m taking a knock with your statement & the best thing for me is even if I don’t improve I still love learning to see but I will try & improve because one of the reasons is because it’s just fun for me it’s my basket weaving in my old age. So please don’t feel like you have discouraged me if anything I feel encouraged. Thank you for your honesty and I will give what you have to say much thought & hopefully I will get the energy to practice more. Enjoy Arizona It’s a beautiful state.

I like the layers here. Vegetation, hills, then sky/clouds, although, the evenness of the light makes it a little hard to separate these out. Some judicious burning and dodging could possibly create more texture across the scene among the different elements.

Thanks Tony, I really thought about more dodging & burning & color enhancement but I have a problem of over cooking & don’t realize it till I come back & look at it again and say oh no way to much so this time & tried to be more conservative, but I can see what you mean. I know post processing is something I would like to get good at I’ve been watching some Affinity Photo tutorials I YouTube with James Ritson teaching this last week. I know I’m at a kindergarten level with my post processing. I love how you say some judicious burning and dodging could possibly create more texture across the scene among the different elements. I want to remember that.

Welcome to NPN Jerry, glad to have you aboard. This is a great first post, it looks like an interesting place.

If anything, I would like to see a little more breathing room space below the cholla, it feels slightly cramped as presented. Personally, when out shooting I tend to compose images a little bit wider than I think I need, leaving me wiggle room to make small crops to address things that I didn’t fully notice in the field.

I agree with you that the cloud is wonderful, and it’s long, thin shape lends itself to a horizontal panoramic aspect ratio like you used. But I also agree with @Kris_Smith , it leaves the composition a bit static looking with a 50/50 horizon. Put another way, there is a foreground and background here, but no mid-ground. This reduces the feeling of having depth in the scene. A more elevated shooting position might have created a mid-ground, but of course that isn’t always possible to achieve in the desert :grin:

Hi Ed, and thanks for you feedback , you made me stop and think more as has everyone on this site. I did think about the foreground and kind of went back and forth with the crop, as far as the wiggle room there this was wider and there was more foreground and sky, but when I cropped I just wasn’t thinking of the rule of 3rds when it came to the horizon I guess I just went with my feelings in post. I do get to scatter brained at times when it comes to thinking about composition & I know I need to slow down and work and play with the scene more, I was on a tripod & I know I should probably take the camera off it and look at every angle from the view finder I’ve been a slow learner but I’m working on the celebration of discipline and repetition in the art of photography. Thanks again for sharing perspective and aspect ratio is something is something that I just started thinking about lately I don’t think about it much in the field & have been usually use freeform while cropping in post. And thanks again I’m loving it.

Welcome here. I’m a big desert fan myself, both for living and photography. Light is usually the biggest issue in the desert but you’ve got some great light here. What appeals to me most here is how the cloud layer in the sky mimics the plant layer below. Personally I find plenty of interest in the various plants spread across the bottom. Yes, a bit more space below the cholla would’ve been nice. Perhaps you can add more with content aware fill.

Hi Igor, and thanks for your input, I really do appreciate everyone’s eye with this image, I just looked at the pre post image again this morning with new eyes with this desert landscape and it is much more grand then the processed image here and I stared to like it as just as much the processed image. I will rework it again. I’m one that likes learning how to edit in post as much as I learning how to take picture’s. It’s a great hobby for me it gives me something to do instead of just sitting in a rocker on the porch even though I like that to. I just ordered a view catcher today a card you can look through to see different aspect ratios or distractions in your composition, the first person I saw suggest one was David Kingham then I looked it up and saw that many artist like to use them and how they use them, it looks it could be fun and good tool. And thanks again Igor .

Hi Jerry,

First, welcome to NPN! This is a terrific first landscape image post - I like this quite a lot. This hasn’t been mentioned and I’d be curious if anyone else sees this. What I find fascinating about this is that it comes across as a nature diorama - you know, we’ve all been to natural history museums… with some natural elements, usually some stuffed animals, etc. with a big landscape backdrop… Here’s an example for anyone who can’t make the connection. Anyway, I see this because I looks to me like the foreground vegetation is almost separate from the pastoral backdrop. Your angle of view and the light emphasizes this feature for me. There is a clear definition and separation between the foreground vegetation and the background landscape. The effect is in both renditions. Perhaps more of an effect in the wider view; I like this wider view with the spacious sky. It’s that lone yucca in the LRC, lower right corner that is a slight distraction.

I think your colors, contract and processing in general look great. Only thing missing? Perhaps a mountain goat or bobcat… :slight_smile:



Thank you Lon, diorama is a new word for me and I had to look it up. I loved the example and I can see the connection which also made it look more 3D for me. And as far as one of the reasons I had more of a crop in the first image was because of the Yucca in the right hand corner and also in the reworked image I even tried cloning out the dead yellow sword shaped leaves, I could have probably cloned out the whole Yucca but then I decided to leave it or to document it as part of the desert scene, but it did bother me to. And some desert wildlife would look cool in this image, you know the Desert Bighorn Sheep is the Nevada State animal and the Nevada State flower is Sagebrush. And thanks again Lon for the warm welcome and your perspective with this image. I have a lot to learn and even at my slow pace I’m loving the process & the journey.